T-Cell Lymphoma Prognosis

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In general, a diagnosis of T-cell lymphoma denotes a poorer prognosis than a diagnosis of B-cell lymphoma. One of the reasons this is the case is because T-cell lymphomas are much more rare than B-cell lymphomas, representing about 15% of all lymphoma diagnoses in the United States annually. This amounts to around 11,000 such diagnoses every year—slightly more than the number of Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnoses.

Cutaneous or Peripheral

A T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma prognosis can further be divided between a cutaneous lymphoma and a peripheral lymphoma. Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas tend to be more manageable diseases, requiring less aggressive treatment regimens and having more indolent clinical courses.

Peripheral T-cell lymphomas on the other hand are not well understood diseases. Scientists are still working to understand them better; consequently they have a poorer prognosis in general than their cutaneous counterparts. Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas are often confined to the skin, while peripheral ones can be 'systemic', meaning that they affecting wider, more distant parts of the body and often will require more aggressive treatments. Researchers continue to classify new subtypes of peripheral T-cell lymphomas, meaning new subtypes are coming to light all the time. While it can be confusing, it will eventually lead to a better understanding of lymphomas affecting the T lymphocytes, and with a better understanding eventually will come a better general prognosis.

National Cancer Institute SEER Statistics

The United States National Cancer Institute keeps a set of so-called SEER statistics, or Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results statistics. When these stats express prognosis, they are expressed in the form of 5 year overall relative survival percentages. These percentages mean that this is how many people who are diagnosed with this type of cancer are expected to be alive five years later, compared to the general population.

According to the National Cancer Institute's SEER statistics, the overall 5-year relative survival of patients with T-cell lymphoma is as follows:

  • Localized disease: 84.7%
  • Regional: 56.3%
  • Metastasized 37.2%

Thus, as is the case in many other cancers, the sooner T-cell lymphoma is detected and treated, the better the prognosis.

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